EDUCATION PLUS

Indo-U.S. collaboration to focus on pelagic fish resources

The Indian oil sardine forms almost 55 per cent of the marine fish catch from south eastern Arabian sea.Photo: H. Vibhu

The Indian oil sardine forms almost 55 per cent of the marine fish catch from south eastern Arabian sea.Photo: H. Vibhu  

From predicting harmful algal blooms (HAB) and fishery of small pelagic species, there is quiet a lot that earth scientists could tell the world.

The Ministry of Earth Sciences, India and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), U.S., are jointly working on a research collaboration programme to use combined scientific and technical skills in enhancing the observations of the Earth.

The collaborative programme, implemented through the National Marine Fisheries Services, NOAA and the Centre for Marine Living Resources and Ecology (CMLRE) and the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS), would focus on prediction of pelagic fish resources, especially sardines.

The small pelagic, Indian oil sardine, mackerel and anchovies, contribute almost 55 per cent of the marine fish catch from the south eastern Arabian Sea. Of this, the sardine alone accounts for almost 16 per cent. Almost 90 per cent of the artisan fishermen directly or indirectly rely on these fishes for their livelihood and so the inter-annual variations in the availability of these fishes have a considerable impact on the economy of the common men, pointed out M. Sudhakar, director, CMLRE.

Increasing frequency and extent of harmful algal blooms in the coastal and oceanic area of the Indian Exclusive zone is a cause for concern, as it disrupts biogeochemical cycles and possibly enhances the oxygen minimum zones. This in turn affects marine ecosystem processes such as energy flow and prey availability for mid- and upper-trophic predators. Therefore, the understanding of formation mechanisms of the harmful algal blooms, its spread and the environmental set-up favouring their production is of utmost significance, he explained.

The institutions together would develop improved predictive capability for the small pelagic of the south eastern Arabian Sea especially sardines and develop harmful algal blooms monitoring and prediction system for the coastal oceanic occurrence, he said.

There would be technological support and sharing of expertise for the development of statistical forecast models on the abundance and distribution of small pelagic fishes and biophysical models to relate plankton production to physical ocean dynamics.

The lessons learnt from sardine fishery management in the California current would also come in support of the Indian fishery programme, the researchers hope.

Recommended for you